Not Knowing – challenging homophobia in sports
Not Knowing tells the story of Umut, a young water polo player, who is a gentle and quiet high school senior, just trying to live his life in a complicated world. When a fellow player spreads a rumor that he is gay, Umut refuses to acknowledge the allegation either way, without apology, or an explanation. His parents, distracted by their own marital problems, and their personal aspirations to see their son succeed in water polo, offer little support for a confused, tormented, and bullied teenager. Set within Turkish society, the film holds a mirror up to what it still means to be young and different in today’s society.
This film tackles a different aspect of bullying. When Umut witnesses a younger boy getting harassed by two other teens, he runs to the younger boys aid and the other two disperse. The scene shows Umut softly touching the boy, and asking if he’s okay. We learn later on that there was an image captured of the two in close proximity, which one of his teammates happens to get a copy of, and sends to Umut.
Umut then quickly becomes bullied as his teammates want to know if he’s gay, because if he is they don’t want him on their team. Umut refuses to answer one way or the other, on the premise that it’s none of their business, and principle that it’s not right to bully someone for a perceived notion. Eventually, the taunting gets to him and he wants to leave the team for good, but his parents are in disagreement.
When Umut disappears without warning, his parents, friends, and fellow teammates all make recorded pleas for his safe return. News agencies cover the story, mentioning that his disappearance could have something to do with his sexuality, which has not even been confirmed one way or the other. When his parents receive a call to go to the police station with regard to the investigation, they, as well as viewers, are left “not knowing” a few things.
Available December 14, 2021 from TLA Releasing.
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.